Portable Pool and Community Aquatics – Awarded $5,000
The Community Foundation of Teton Valley was honored to award this grant to Teton Valley Aquatics to purchase a portable swimming pool and support community aquatic programming. Purchasing a portable pool will improve public access to water programs in the Teton Valley community and enhance public safety and wellness by providing water safety education, rehab sessions, and senior water aerobics. The Foundation strongly supports this project, as it will result in a broader cross-section of the community having improved swimming and water safety skills. This project is being conducted in partnership with the City of Driggs.
Teton County, ID children face significant barriers to accessing water safety education and developing the essential life skill of swimming. Idaho has the second highest rate of unintentional drownings for children aged 1-5 in the country (Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, 2016). With no public aquatic facility or public community learn-to-swim program in Teton Valley, addressing high non-swimmer rates is a pressing and challenging public safety problem. This has become even more pressing during the pandemic as many more families are taking to outdoor recreation around water with less opportunities for water safety education.
Early education and swimming skill development are essential interventions to reducing a child’s risk of drowning. Participating in swim lessons can reduce a child’s drowning risk by 88% (National Institute of Health, 2011). The learn-to-swim programs currently provided in Teton Valley are limited and offered at private, membership-based facilities and serve a specific target audience. Teton Valley Aquatics estimates that less than 15% of households with children who would like their child to participate in swim lessons are served by these private programs. Other area public aquatic facilities in Jackson, WY and Rexburg, ID can be nearly an hour’s drive from Teton Valley, consistently fill quickly and can be cost and time prohibitive. The opportunity to access learn-to-swim programs is even more acute for the 31% of Driggs City and 29% of Victor City residents who are beneath ALICE thresholds, the minimum income necessary based on household survival budgets (The United Way ALICE Report, Teton County, Idaho 2016).
Teton Valley residents have expressed a desire for more learn-to-swim program opportunities. Based on data collected from Teton Valley Swims participants in 2017 and 2018, 90% of parents are interested in expanded learn-to-swim offerings. This indicates that there is high community demand and a low supply of accessible and affordable learn-to-swim programs that serve a broad and diverse audience.
Teton Valley Aquatics and the City of Driggs have formed an innovative nonprofit/public partnership to solve this pressing problem in our community by purchasing a portable pool and offering aquatic-based water activities, including learn-to-swim, rehabilitation, and senior classes. This project will help further engage our community with an eventual aquatic facility BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, it will provide an opportunity to teach water safety skills to the local children. And as a bonus, provide seniors with a socially distanced recreation option, which has been especially trying during the pandemic. The City of Driggs has generously committed to donating the use of Primrose Park and necessary utilities to host the portable pool and aquatic programs for the summer of 2021. The Community Foundation of Teton Valley grant will fund need-based scholarships, staff salaries, and swim gear. In addition, a restricted private donation and two other submitted grants will fund the one-time pool infrastructure and other operating costs.
The Community Foundation commends the important work of Teton Valley Aquatics and the City of Driggs and their shared goals of providing affordable water safety education, rehab sessions, and senior water aerobics to the Teton Valley community.